Basketball Betting Guide

Comprehensive guide to betting on basketball with the most popular betting markets, leagues, and effective basketball betting tips and strategies.

Basketball is one of the most popular sports in the world. Most of the world's attention is focused on NBA betting, however, its popularity around the world might surprise you. Throughout this basketball betting guide, we will explain how basketball betting works and look at some of the successful strategies you can use to improve your own betting.

How To Bet On Basketball

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There are several ways in which we can place bets on basketball games. The method you choose should be dependent on your style of betting. Traditional bookmakers are great for many as you can compare the odds from several bookmakers before you place your bet. However, if you wish to adopt more conservative strategies and like to bet in-play then a betting exchange site is more likely to suit your style of betting.

Fixed-Odds Basketball Betting

Fixed-odds betting refers to the odds you will be offered when you wish to place a bet with bookmakers. The great thing about using fixed odds to bet on basketball games is that your bet will remain the same regardless of what action occurs in the markets at a later date. Meaning that when you place a bet you will know exactly how much will be returned if your bet is successful.

Basketball Betting Exchanges

Basketball betting exchanges are a place where you can back and lay the outcome of matches as well as the outcome of other markets. The odds will be set by users of the site just like yourself, rather than by a bookmaker. If you were to place a back bet you will be betting on the outcome to occur. If you were to place a lay bet you will be betting against the outcome to occur. With exchange sites, it is much more likely to see odds that are substantially in your favor.

exchange bets
The two types of exchange bets.

In-Play Basketball Betting

Betting on a basketball game while it is in play can bring many advantages to betters. Firstly many betters like the experience of betting in-play more as they get to watch the game they have placed a bet on and this has the potential to make the match more exciting. From a profit-making point of view though it can also be advantageous as we can place bets based on the action we see. If you use an exchange site you could potentially make multiple trades throughout the match.

Land-Based Basketball Betting

Land-based basketball betting refers to bets that can be placed in a venue supposed to online, most notably casinos. In our opinion, the major advantage of land-based betting is the experience. For example, in Las Vegas, several rooms will have flat-screen TVs and comfortable sofas as well as beverages that can lead to a great time while watching a sport you love.

As far as we are concerned we would only recommend this type of experience if your sole purpose of betting is enjoyment. In terms of improving your betting game, it practically offers zero although you are more likely to have higher limits with land-based betting than you would with a bookmaker online. This is especially the case with major sporting events.

How To Bet On Basketball
How To Bet On Basketball

Basketball Leagues You Can Bet On

Throughout the world, there are a few basketball leagues that can be bet on. Each of them varies in levels of popularity, skill, and playing style. Before you place a bet on any league you should consider these factors to help you make a fantastic bet.


The NBA is without question the biggest and most popular basketball league in the world. Therefore if you are a fan of basketball it is likely that you would want to bet on the NBA. With the NBA being so popular it is very easy to get your hands on vital statistics as well as follow the sport in general. The NBA basically has a monopoly on the basketball world as no other league can reasonably compete with the wages they can offer their elite players.

Regular Season

The regular season refers to the period of the season where teams are playing for points and each team is attempting to reach the playoffs. Due to the nature of a league format, it is important to remember that different factors can affect results such as a team already qualifying for the playoffs turning the game into a dead rubber for them.


The playoffs are a knockout round that includes the teams that have qualified throughout the various regions of the USA. All rounds are the best of seven meaning that it would be difficult to argue that the best team didn't win after this amount of matches. It is important to not pay too much attention to form with these games as it is possible that teams have been reserving energy for the playoffs.


Founded in 1906, the National Collegiate Athletic Association is a nonprofit institution that hosts athletic programs for college athletes from over 1,200 institutions in North America. The NCAA organizes basketball, baseball, gymnastics, ice hockey, and golf among other sports for student-athletes. College sport is extremely popular in America and due to the fact that the league is supposed to aid an athlete's development results are not always going to be the pure focus as they would with elite sport making this a difficult league to place bets on.

March Madness

March Madness is a basketball knockout tournament that consists of 68 college teams from the US. Four of these teams are eliminated after this first round, leaving 64 teams to compete in the first round. These teams will then play each other in a quickfire knockout competition. Founded in 1939 the UCLA Bruins have currently won the tournament the most with 11 titles to their name.

EuroLeague (Europe)

EuroLeague stands as a top-tier European basketball club that was founded in 2000. Since its establishment, Euro League has become the second wealthiest basketball league in the world. 21 clubs have won the Euro League title, showing that the league can be very open. Despite this Real Madrid has won the title 10 times.

EuroCup (Europe)

The EuroCup Basketball is a professional club competition established by the Euro league in 2002. About 11 clubs have won the Euro Cup title since its foundation, with Valencia Basket leading the way with 4 titles.

Liga ACB (Spain)

The top-tier basketball division in Spain, Liga Endesa is organized and regulated by the ACB. Liga ACB was established in 1983 to be an independent basketball league from the Spanish Basketball Federation. Liga ACB consists of 18 teams and is the 4th most popular basketball league around the world.

Liga Nacional De Basquet (Argentina)

Liga Nacional de Basquet or LNB is the highest level in the Argentinean basketball league. The LNB was established in 1985 similar to the NBA, but it consists of a promotion and relegation structure in company with La Liga Argentina.

Lega Basket Serie A (Italy)

A professional basketball league organized in 1920, and regulated by the Italian Basketball Federation, the Lega Basket Series A is the top-tier level in the Italian league system. It consists of 17 teams and follows similar regulations to FIBA rules.

Basketball Super League (Turkey)

Basketball Super League or BSL is a major basketball division organized by the Turkish basketball league and regulated by the Turkish Basketball Federation. The BSL was established in 1966, and since then 11 clubs have won its title with the leading champions being Anadolu Efes, and Fenerbence both winning the title 14 and 9 times respectively.

What Basketball League Should You Bet On?
What Basketball League Should You Bet On?

Basketball Betting Markets

A betting market is a specific type of wager on a specific event. Each sport has its own set of common markets found in most events. Basketball betting markets are the most common bets that are widely available for most basketball and NBA games.


The Moneyline bet simply refers to an outright winning bet in a basketball game. In other words, you place a bet on the team you think will win the game.

The term moneyline is only really associated with sports based in the U.S. The most important factor you should pay attention to before confirming your bet should be the odds.

Handicap & Point Spread Betting

Handicap and Point Spread bets are quite similar to each other in terms of general structure and format. Both versions of these bets require a sportsbook to make a few alterations in order to create a fair betting matchup between teams by providing the weaker team with a positive handicap.

The basic principle of both systems revolves around an even betting field for all teams. Point spreads and handicaps are popular in nearly all sports, but particularly in football and basketball.

Over/Under X

Over/Under markets refer to markets where you can bet on a number of points being over or under a specific number. This can refer to the number of points scored in a match but it can also delve into much more obscure markets.

Special Player Bets

Prop bets are very popular in American sports and the majority of these bets will focus on what a player will do in the match. For example, you could bet if Lebron James will score more or less than 25 points. This is another version of an Over/Under market.

Team's Total Points

In basketball games, it is possible to bet on how many points a selected team will score in the match. Typically you will have the option of either betting over or under a selected amount. For example, if you were to back a team to score over 72.5 points in the game the team would have to score 73 points or more to result in a successful bet.

Player's Total Points

There is a betting market where you can bet on the total number of points a player will score in the match. This is another over/under market. In this market, you will simply be able to bet on whether you think a particular player will score over or under a selected amount of points.

Number Of Passes

Betting markets are general about picking an outright winner for the part of or the entire game, or a player or team for a specific prop bet. Additionally, over/under bets are extremely popular and have the punter pick whether a specific numerical game statistic will be over or under a given number.

Basketball Betting Tips & Strategy

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If you want to be successful when betting on basketball matches you should take advantage of all the information that is available to you. We live in an era where sporting data is becoming a central part of how many people analyze the games.

Therefore we can take advantage of this data and make our strategies, systems, and decisions as informed as possible. Your own knowledge of the game will always be invaluable but using instinct alone would not be utilizing your full potential.

Study Basketball Statistics

Study basketball statistics that are relevant to the types of bets you like to place. If you only bet on the outcome of the match-winner then you would need to study all the stats that are likely to have an influence on the outcome of the match. While if you are betting on an over/under market you will need to look into more specific stats that center around a team's scoring or defensive prowess.

Basketball-Reference and Basketball-Database are two great free resources for all the statistics you would need when you're getting started with placing basketball bets.

Reverse-line Movements

Reverse line movement is a fancy term for trying to look for anomalies in the market where the Sportsbook is moving the line in the opposite direction of what you should. In other words, the bookies make a mistake and betters try to take advantage of this.

Find Value Bets

Value bets are what every sports better in the world should be looking for. The concept of a value bet is pretty simple. A good value bet would be when you believe that the odds are in your favor. For example, if you were to place a bet on a basketball team to win at odds of 4/1 then you would break even if the team won this game every 1 in 4 times. Therefore if you think this team are likely to win this game more than this then you would be betting with odds that represent good value. Making your bey a value bet.

Place Bets On Underdogs

The best value can often be found when betting on the underdogs for a game. If you do sufficient research and have high knowledge of the game you might be able to find odds that represent great value. On-exchange sites for example the price for outsiders can be very high and with calculated decisions, you could bet with odds that represent great value.

Make Use Of Arbitrage Odds When Available

Arbitrage is a type of betting that can be taken advantage of when markets allow. This involves the process of betting on the opposing outcomes on two different sites to lock in a guaranteed profit. The odds will have to be as such where you can bet on both outcomes to occur and make a profit regardless of the final result.

Never Ignore Defensive Statistics

A teams defensive statistics are just as likely to have a bearing on the match then attacking statistics are. This is purely because these stats are likely to give an indication of how well they will defend it the game.

Be Wary Of Match Day Injuries And Rumours

With social media and a culture of round the clock news it can be easy to quickly believe a rumour too easily and place a bet because you are desperate to be ahead of the game. This can very easily be avoided by only following sources you trust. By the time the news reaches the mainstream media the bookmakers would have acted upon this information. Therefore if you follow a few sources that appear to have the inside scoop before anyone else and have proven to be reliable this could be a great system for making profit.

Avoid Accumulators And Parlay Betting

Accumulator and Parlay betting is something in which serious gamblers tend not to get involved in. It is difficult to have an efficient system with such betting types and the chances of winning these types of bets are unlikely as you need to rely on the result of multiple outcomes. These types of bets are great for recreational players as they offer the chance to make a huge amount of money from a minimal stake but this is merely an illusion as the number of success stories is very few.

Have Clear Bankroll Management Guidelines

Bankroll management is one of the most important things you need to think of when placing bets. You need to have guidelines in place to make sure you never bet any more money than your system allows. The whole purpose of bankroll management is to protect you from the volatile swings that unfortunately at some time you will experience when betting.

Don't Bet More Just Because It's A Big Game

When big games come around the betting markets naturally see a lot more action. As serious gamblers, we should avoid falling into this trap. If we practice good bankroll management we shall never bet more than the system allows us, this strategy will not care for the status of the game.

Profit A Little Bit, But Often

Often, the best betting systems are conservative ones. To follow these betting systems you will need to have good discipline as you will have to accept the limitations the systems allow. If you wanted to get rich quickly from betting the risk you would have to take when betting would have to be astronomical.

Basketball Betting - FAQ

Answers to the most common questions about Basketball betting.

What does moneyline mean in basketball?

The Moneyline bet simply refers to a winning bet in a basketball game. The term Moneyline is only really associated with sports based in the U.S. The most important factor you should pay attention to before confirming your bet should be the odds.

Are accumulators worth it when betting on basketball?

We advise that you stay away from using accumulators unless you have a specific system in place which suggests you will show long-term profitability. Bookmakers love accumulators as recreational gamblers view them as a chance to return huge sums and the likelihood of winning one is very unlikely.

Can you bet on women's basketball?

Yes, the WLB is the most popular woman's basketball league and it is based in America. The only problem is that women's basketball isn't that popular and the betting markets reflect this. Sometimes you might come across odds that can be taken advantage of but generally speaking we find the odds on offer for these games to be poor. The betting limits are smaller also.

What stats to look for when betting on basketball?

When placing bets on basketball the stats you look at will need to have relevance to the place you are betting. If you are betting on the outcome of the match you should pay close attention to the form of the respective teams. If it is an over/under market you will need to look at more specific stats to help you make the decision regarding if a bet represents good value or not.

Is basketball betting profitable?

Basketball betting can be as profitable as betting on any other sport but a lot will be dependent on the strategy you use as well as the discipline you have when practising good bankroll management. There is no magic formula to making money when betting on basketball games

Does basketball betting include overtime?

There are specific bets when you will indeed be betting on the final outcome of the match but overall standard bets will only cover the action that happens in regular time. Therefore if you back a team to win and the match ends in a draw you would have lost your bet.

Betting on basketball is not hugely popular in Europe as it is competing with other sports such as football that are far more popular on the continent. Countries like Lithuania love basketball but most of their betting activity remains unknown. Having said that, due to the popularity of sports betting in the UK, bets on the NBA still see quite a bit of action there.

If you are a fan of basketball and betting it is likely that you have already combined these two interests. Whether you have been successful in doing so of course is a completely different question. Hopefully, by reading this guide you feel inspired to go away and work on improving your basketball betting game.